The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) have launched a new “Protect your Digital Memories” campaign. The campaign aims to increase awareness and encourage people to protect their digital assets and memories. STEP is calling for both the government and digital service providers to do more to help people put plans in place and also provide support to families and loved ones wanting to gain access to a deceased’s digital accounts. But why is protecting your digital assets and memories so important?
In this article, we look at why it is worthwhile to put plans in place that protect your digital assets and memories for your loved ones when you pass away and how you can do this.
In 2022, so much of our lives and memories are digitally stored in photos, videos, social media accounts, emails, and cloud storage - to name only a few. But, just like physical and monetary assets, digital assets and memories can be as important to people.
There are a number of circumstances where your family and loved ones may need to access your digital accounts should you pass away or lose capacity, including:
● To access things that hold sentimental value to you or your loved ones
● To protect your privacy
● To take care and safeguard any financial property you might have.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what will happen to their digital memories and assets should they become incapacitated or pass away. Without adequate planning, these could be lost forever or create further problems down the line.
There are several steps that you can take that are fairly simple but could prove extremely helpful to your loved ones further down the line.
Many social media and internet platforms that we use daily, such as Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, have tools allowing you to decide how your account can be accessed when you are no longer here or can no longer do so yourself. For the majority of these tools, the process should only take a few minutes to complete. Doing so will give you peace of mind that your loved ones can access your photos and other digital assets in your absence.
If you do not nominate a legacy contact, accounts can be very difficult, potentially impossible, to access. Updating your legacy settings should only take a few minutes, but doing this will give you the peace of mind that these accounts can still be accessed.
While no one wants to think about a time when you are no longer here or cannot make decisions for yourself, it is important to talk to family and friends about your wishes. Having these conversations now can save a lot of time and stress for your loved ones in the future. Out of these discussions, you may even start sharing memories with them now, such as photos and videos.
Cloud-storage makes it easy to store and back up your digital files, including important information and more sentimental items. Keeping everything in the cloud and ensuring your loved ones can gain access to this can make things a lot easier when you are no longer around.
Check whether your Attorney needs specific powers to deal with your digital assets.
You may wish to specify in your Will that certain digital assets go to particular beneficiaries, and consider whether your Executor needs specific powers to deal with your digital assets after your death.
If you have any concerns about what might happen to your digital estate, you can also contact a legal adviser to advise you on how to plan effectively.
Our friendly and experienced Private Client team are on hand to advise on any issues relating to your digital estate as well as Powers of Attorney, Wills and other lifetime planning. Please telephone 01892 526344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If suitable, we can offer an initial one hour appointment with a solicitor for a fixed cost of £100+ VAT, giving you the opportunity to discuss your matter and consider your options. This can be in person, via telephone or video link. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.